Eight sex scandals that rocked French politics. Photo: Edward Langley/Flickr
The recent sexual harassment allegations around a French minister and parliament's deputy speaker are just the latest sordid sex scandals in French politics. But there have been others over the years that turned heads, involving young ballerinas and Bangkok brothels.
The exact circumstances around the death of Felix Faure in 1899 are still uncertain, apart from the fact he died in the arms of his half-naked mistress Marguerite Steinheil in the drawing room.
Faure was later found to have died of a brain haemorrhage, although some suggested he was the victim of poisoning by his political opponents.
But within hours France was awash with rumours of the president dying in the arms of his mistress and as the website RFI reports
, the left wing French press had a bit of fun at his expense.
“Felix Faure passed away in good health, indeed from the excess of good health,” wrote the French daily Gil Blas in February 1899.
The Journal du Peuple wrote: “He was sacrificed on Venus's altar, at the limits of that official morality of which he was supposed to be the highest representative."
For her part, Faure's mistress Steinheil ended up being nicknamed "la pompe funèbre" (The undertakers), due to the similarity to a French slang word for oral sex.
André Le Toquer and the pink ballet
The case of the "Pink ballet" is one of the most controversial sex scandals involving a French politician.
In 1959, a daily newspaper revealed that the then National Assembly president André Le Toquer was holding sex parties in his official residence outside of Paris.
The parties ended up being sado-masochistic orgies, involving girls as young as 14.
The one-armed 73-year-old was convicted of “offences against morality” in a scandal that involved major French businessmen and even a Romanian countess.
But the former World War One veteran and member of the French resistance, who fought alongside General de Gaulle, was considered to have served his country well and given a fairly lenient sentence given what he was accused of.
He was handed a one-year suspended jail sentence and a 3,000 francs fine.
François Mitterrand and his secret daughter
In 1994, French newspaper Paris Match dramatically revealed that the then French president François Mitterand had a 20-year-old secret daughter, named Mazarine, born to his mistress Anne Pingeot.
The news caused a scandal not only because Mitterrand was married at the time, but mainly because the state helped him keep it hidden from press.
Mitterrand's desperation to keep it a secret from the French press was one of the motivations behind some of the illegal wiretapping that Mitterrand ordered under the guise of fighting terrorism.
At his funeral in 1996, both Ms Pingeot and Mazarine attended alongside Mr Mitterrand's wife, Danielle, and their two sons.
In 2014, more details emerged around his private life when Hravn Forsne, a 25-year-old Swedish politician, revealed that he was the son of the former president and Christina Forsne, a Swedish journalist with whom the former president had been having an affair.
(Mitterrand (with the white scarf), Jean-Christophe Mitterrand, Mazarine Pingeot, Anne Pingeot, Gilbert Mitterrand and Adrien Mitterrand pay their last respects to him, in front of his coffin covered with the French flag on the place du Chateau in Jarnac during his funerals 11 January 1996.)
The serial killer and the prostitutes
In 2002 a serial killer named Patrice Alegre was jailed for life for murdering prostitutes who attended orgies at a Toulouse court house.
Various French public officials were alleged to have protected him and Alegre claimed the city's senior officials ordered some of the murders in a bid to protect themselves from blackmail.
Frédéric Mitterand and Thai brothels
In 2005, the Mitterand family was once again hit by scandal, this time of a far more serious nature.
Frédéric Mitterand, the nephew of the former president, and former television host and writer, chose to reveal in his memoirs his sordid experiences in the male brothels of Bangkok, Thailand.
Mitterand admitted he had a penchant for “boys”, writing: “I got into the habit of paying for boys ... The profusion of young, very attractive and immediately available boys put me in a state of desire I no longer needed to restrain or hide.”
He later insisted he used the word “boys” loosely and said he condemns paedophilia and sexual tourism, which he labelled "a disgrace”.
But the revelations did not harm his career, in fact he went on to become France's Minister of Culture, until 2012 when his friend Nicolas Sarkozy lost the French presidential election.
He even survived being viciously attacked by Marine Le Pen in 2009, who accused him on TV of having sex with underage boys, after he had publicly defended Roman Polanski, who was wanted for questioning in the US over the alleged rape of a 13-year-old girl.
Georges Tron and reflexology
In May 2011, now former Secretary of State for Public Affairs and Draveil mayor Georges Tron was accused of sexual harassment and rape by two female members of his staff.
The women alleged Tron offered "reflexology", which he had practiced for more than 30 years, but used it as a guise to sexually assault them.
The case against Tron was first dismissed in 2013, on the request of prosecutors due to the lack of evidence, but surprisingly it was announced in December last year that the former secretary of state would be retried.
Tron said the case was brought due to a feud with relatives of Marine Le Pen who then announced she would sue him for libel.
Hollande, the actress and the spurned lover
Not many would have imagined the president nicknamed “flamby” would have ended up embroiled in a sex scandal that made global news.
But that's exactly what happened in January 2014, when Closer magazine revealed that François Hollande had been having a secret affair behind the back of partner Valerie Trierweiler with actress Julie Gayet.
The publication of images showing Hollande heading off to meet Gayet on the back of a scooter effectively brought to an abrupt end the longstanding notion that the president's private life was off limits for the media.
Despite Hollande batting away questions about his love life the scandal was not quickly forgotten with Trierweiler releasing a tell-all memoire sarcastically titled “Thank You for this moment”, which to the dismay of the president is to be made into a film.
DSK, the hotel maid and the prostitutes/libertines
What more can be said about the former IMF chief Dominique Strauss-Kahn and the numerous sordid affairs he was involved in.
He was accused of raping a hotel maid in New York, before charges were dropped, then he was accused of sexually assaulting a female French journalist, although no charges were brought, but DSK's chief scandal was the so-called Carlton affair.
He would attend sex parties, or Bunga Bunga get togethers as Sylvio Berlusconi called them along with prostitutes. DSK said he had no idea they were sex workers arguing that once a woman was naked, how could you tell?
It was a fair point. Although he was cleared of any wrong doing in the high profile trial, his reputation was left in tatters and no one really seemed to believe him anyway.
If you really want to know how sordid the whole affair was, then read these most outrageous and explicit quotes from the trial.
by Priscillia Charles/Ben McPartland